How to Tell If Ground Beef Is Bad: 4 Simple Ways to Check

How can you tell if your steak has gone bad and still be safe to eat?

The sell by date informs retailers of how long they can keep an item on the shelves before it becomes unsafe to cook or freeze.

To avoid serious bacterial illness, food should be eaten or frozen before the use-by date. This is also the expiration date.

How to tell if your steak has gone off

Before cooking, make sure your steak hasn’t gone bad if you’ve had it in the fridge for a few days.

Knowing how to identify a bad steak is essential to preventing upset guests and a rumbling tummy. Even meat kept in the freezer can go bad over time.

Any grillmaster must be aware of the following troublesome traits, from slimy surfaces to rotten meat.

It’s out of date

It may sound blindingly obvious, but the truth is that many people still get confused about the difference between “use-by” and “sell-by” dates – especially if they have stored their steak in the freezer for some time after purchasing.

  • The “use-by” date indicates how long you have to cook or freeze the steak before it will likely turn bad. Therefore, if the use-by date is March 22, you must either grill it or put it in the freezer by that date to prevent it from spoiling.
  • The “sell-by” date, on the other hand, informs the butcher or retailer how long they can keep the steak on the shelf and available for purchase. This gives the client adequate time to cook or freeze their steak once they get it home before it starts to spoil.

What Does Bad Beef Look Like?

You should try to freeze your steak a day or two before the use-by date if you decide to do so. This is important to keep in mind. This is due to the requirement that you give it sufficient time to completely freeze and thaw without going past the use-by date.

For instance, it’s best practice to freeze your steak by March 20 if its use-by date is March 22. This will give you a good 48 hours to thaw the steak once you take it out of the freezer before it starts to turn.

If the store packaging or your butcher doesn’t give you a use-by date, as a general rule, it should be OK to keep your steak refrigerated for 3-5 days before use. If you decide to freeze it, be sure to write the date of purchase and date of freezing on the bag.

According to the FDA, steak can be frozen for between 6 and 12 months before the quality begins to deteriorate.

In any circumstance, slime is unpleasant, but if it’s on your steak, that’s a bad sign.

When a steak is bad, it frequently appears slimy and feels slick to the touch. The slime may appear yellowish when it catches the light, and the surface of the meat will have a sheen to it.

This slimy film, which is brought on by a bacterial buildup (yuck), indicates for sure that your steak has gone bad and should be thrown away rather than grilled. Mold would begin to appear on the surface of a slimy steak within a few days if left out.

Keep in mind that not all of your steak may get slimy at once if the meat is just starting to turn. As a result, before cooking, you should always check your steak for any slippery patches.

Although it can be unpleasant, discolored meat doesn’t necessarily indicate that your steak has reached the end of its shelf life.

Hemoglobin and myoglobin, two distinct proteins, are responsible for the color of meat. Hemoglobin is found in the blood, whereas myoglobin is found in muscle and gives fresh meat its red color.

Once an animal is slaughtered and the meat is exposed to the air, chemical reactions occur between these proteins and oxygen. During this process, the color of your steak will go through three stages, until a state of chemical equilibrium is reached.

  • The first stage occurs immediately after your steak is sliced. This stage, which is colored purplish red, results from myoglobin starting to react with oxygen.
  • The second stage is a cherry red hue. After around 30 minutes of exposure to the air, this will start to show.
  • About three days later, the third and final stage will be attained. Myoglobin has fully oxidized and changed into “metmyoglobin” at this point. This gives the meat a brown appearance, which is less appealing than a steak that is a bright red color. However, there is currently nothing wrong with the meat’s quality or safety.

This is a general timeline, but the process may go more quickly or slowly depending on a variety of variables, including the animal’s age, species, diet, and level of physical activity. The darkening process can also be accelerated by freezing or light exposure.

So, color changes alone do not indicate a spoiled steak. It is a typical and natural process brought on by oxygen exposure.

However, it’s probably best to toss your steak if it has significantly darkened and is also exhibiting any of the other indications listed in this guide. Steak OXIDATION Experiment! SURPRISING RESULTS!!!.

Dryness is another sign that your steak has aged past its prime. Does your steak appear a little shriveled and dehydrated or feel dry to the touch?

If your steak is dry and lacks juice, it doesn’t necessarily mean that eating it will give you an upset stomach. However, the texture and flavor of your steak will definitely suffer once it is cooked if there isn’t a sufficient amount of fat or marbling throughout the meat.

Packing your steaks in a vacuum-sealed bag before freezing them is a great way to keep them from drying out. This will prevent exposure to the air and any possible bacteria while keeping the juices contained for natural moisture.

If you’re not freezing your steak but intend to keep it chilled for a few days, you should store it tightly wrapped in clingfilm or in a container with a tight seal to keep moisture in.

It smells bad

Fresh, raw beef doesn’t exactly have an appealing smell to most people, but it shouldn’t smell bad.

Fresh red meat has a light bloody, or metallic smell. Since this fragrance isn’t overpowering, you typically have to get very close to smell it.

On the other hand, a bad steak will have a distinct odor that smells sour, faintly like eggs, or like ammonia. You might recoil in horror at this smell, and you might even feel a little queasy!

Nevertheless, some dry-aged steaks will inadvertently smell like cheese because lactic acid is released during the aging process.

Therefore, the best way to determine whether a dry-aged steak has gone bad is not by smelling it. Instead, look for the additional indicators we’ve provided to determine whether it’s safe to eat.

Given what to watch out for, you should be able to tell the difference between a steak that is safe to eat and one that has gone bad.

The unfortunate truth is that your steak should be thrown away if it is slimy, dry, or has an unpleasant odor rather than cooked on the grill.

Although a discolored steak may not taste good, it may not be a problem in and of itself. However, the meat is probably past its prime if it is very dark and exhibits any other signs of spoilage.

Make sure to store your steak properly to keep it as fresh as possible for as long as possible. If you choose to freeze it, wrap it in a vacuum bag and store it in the freezer a few days prior to the expiration date. For future use, don’t forget to write the date on the package.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below if you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of finding a spoiled steak.

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FAQ

How can you tell if beef is bad?

Meat that is rotten will be discolored and may appear green or brown. Additionally, you can look for slime on the steak’s surface. If the texture is slimy, it is most likely foul. The smell of the steak is another indicator that it may be spoiled.

Is beef safe to eat if it turns brown?

The chemical changes in myoglobin brought on by the presence of oxygen are what cause this darkening, or oxidation. This is a normal change during refrigerator storage. It is not advisable to use beef that has turned brown due to prolonged storage because it may be spoiled, smell bad, and be tacky to the touch.

What does bad beef look like after cooking?

However, if the outside of the ground beef has turned brown or gray, you should toss it because this means that it’s starting to rot. Additionally, mold can contaminate cooked ground beef, so if you see any fuzzy blue, grey, or green spots, you should toss your leftovers.

How can you tell if raw meat is bad?

The smell of spoiled meat is distinct and unpleasant, and it will make your face wrinkle up. Texture: Spoilt meats can feel slimy or sticky to the touch in addition to having an unpleasant odor. Color: Rotten meats will also change color slightly. The color of poultry should range from bluish-white to yellow.

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